Monday, November 5, 2007

Egg Tarts Part 1: (Sweet Short Pastry)

Egg Tart (Tan Tart) is a very Chinese/Asian thing which is very popular in Hong Kong, Macau & southern parts of China. Of course wherever there are Chinese communities such as in Malaysia, Singapore, or even Australia, you will see these little munchkins. Apparently, it is translated from the English version of Custard Tarts. This is usually taken at dim sum or yum cha places and of course the 3.30 pm teabreaks.

There are basically three types of egg tarts. Egg custard fillings with:

Sweet Short Pastry (Sweet Pastry/Sweet Tart Pastry) ~ This is a butter, flour, sugar with eggs or water for richer taste pastry. A good sweet short crust must be short, i.e. crumbly/sandy, and rich with the butter aroma. This crust is easy to make, hence more commonly seen in Malaysian bakeries.

Suo Pi ~ This pastry is made with what I call the Asian Puff Pastry method, which is slightly different from the Western way. The egg tarts made with this pastry are flaky and there is a certain crispiness and shortness to it. My mum's old recipe book uses Lard and that is supposedly the most original way but ehmmm...dont think we want to have clot arteries before 40.

Portuguese Style ~ This version is made popular in Macau, originating from Portugeuse Pastries de nata. It uses the Western Style Puff Pastry recipe and making method, which involves, folding and rolling the dough spread with butter several times to create layers upon baking. The Portuguese version has richer egg filling that is very soft and a burnt caramelised top.

Sweet Short/Tart crust is the simplest form of egg tarts. The casing is basically a sweet shortcrust pastry which is nice and crumbly with a cookie-like taste to it. The fragrant comes from the butter rich crust.

200 gm of plain flour
115 gm of butter
45 gm of icing sugar
10 gm of milk powder
1 no of small egg or 1/2 no of big egg

1) Cream butter and sugar til sugar dissolved.
2) Add egg. Continue creaming slightly.
3) Add sifted dry ingredients. Mixture will become dough like and would not stick on hand or beater.
4) Roll into equal balls and mould into tart casings.
5) Fill with strained egg tart fillings and bake at preheat oven of 180 deg celcius without fan for about 20 to 25 minutes til egg filling set.

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